How Should I Redeem 30,000 Amex Points for Award Travel?

Sep 6, 2015

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TPG reader Mike messaged me to ask about his options for using Amex Membership Rewards points for travel:

“I have 30,000 points on my American Express® Gold Card Card; how should I redeem for an award flight?”

The easiest option is to use Pay with Points, which gets you 1 cent per point when booking through the Amex Travel portal. Using that method, your 30,000 points are worth $300. However, we can do much better!

The joy of Amex Membership Rewards (and other transferable points) is that you can use them with a wide variety of airline partners. Here’s the complete list of Amex airline transfer partners:

  • Delta
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • British Airways
  • El Al
  • Emirates
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • jetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Atlantic
Air Canada’s Aeroplan offers some of my favorite redemptions.

My personal recommendations would be Air Canada Aeroplan and British Airways Avios. Aeroplan offers some short-haul flights for 15,000 miles round-trip, so those 30,000 points could get you two round-trip flights, which is probably worth more than $300 — depending on your destination, of course. For more information, you can check Aeroplan’s flight reward chart.

British Airways is also great for short-haul flights, as you can get flights up to 650 miles (like New York to Montreal) for just 4,500 Avios each way. The fees are low when you redeem on American and Alaska, and British Airways doesn’t add last-minute booking fees, which is really helpful. In this case, your 30,000 points could get you up to six of those awards, or up to four awards at the next level (up to 1,150 miles). For more information, check out my post on Avios distance-based awards.

We’ve written extensively on using Amex Membership Rewards points — here are some related posts that you may also find useful:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, and follow me on Instagram.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.